MCE Trendspotting: Asynchronous Events

July 18, 2022 by lmiller
Filed in: News Tag: MCE Trendspotting

As conferences and events continue to navigate the virtual/hybrid/in-person landscape, many are experimenting with new formats to keep attendees happy and engaged. Per a 2020 study by Skift Meetings (https://meetings.skift.com/reports/state-of-the-event-industry-report/), only about one-third of event organizers said they had been able to develop a solid hybrid event strategy.

A common form of hybrid events is streaming your in-person content to a virtual audience. While this can be effective, this typically prioritizes in-person content and experiences and may lead to your virtual audience feeling less engaged. An alternate hybrid format is the Asynchronous Event option.

Asynchronous events are when the in-person and virtual components take place at separate times. Here are a few ways this can benefit IEEE conference organizers:

Planning & Resources: A hybrid event is a large undertaking requiring many resources. You are essentially running two events for different audiences across venues, requiring multiple vendors and technology to make each experience run smoothly. For event organizers, it can be challenging to monitor both the in-person and virtual experiences simultaneously and may require more than one person depending on the scope of your event. If your event is asynchronous, this alleviates the challenge of trying to manage two events concurring at once. You can be more present and focus solely on the specific needs of your current event to ensure its success. 

Attendee Experience: Asynchronous events allow all attendees to better engage with each other during a specified time, rather than having the audiences split across in-person and virtual environments. Additionally, by having them at separate times, attendees can have more dedicated customer and technical support. Lastly, if your virtual event falls prior to your in-person portion, your attendees can have a chance to preview papers and content, giving them a better idea of what they’d like to learn more about while on-site.

Broadening Accessibility: Virtual and hybrid events have played a large part in breaking down barriers to attending events. Factors like cost, travel restrictions, health, and personal responsibilities can be prohibitive for an individual to travel to an event for multiple days. Asynchronous events give participants more options based on their individual needs. They no longer have to choose between virtual or in-person, but can opt for a truly hybrid experience if it works for them. These options allow event organizers to reach a broader international audience across technical interests.

When planning your hybrid event, it is important to consider your resources, your event objectives, and your audiences. Having a clear and intentional strategy will lead to a better experience, both for the organizers and for the attendees. 

Additional resources to learn more on Asynchronous Events can be found here:

This article was written by:
Lea Provost
Sr. Program Manager, Audience Development Strategy Services
IEEE Meetings, Conferences & Events